They sit around watching and whispering. His little sister sniggers and reaches for another baadusha. She doesn’t like that one already.
She is trapped. The delicate oosivanam stripes of her sari hold her captive in their silken cage. The heavy anklets make escape impossible. She stands rooted to the spot, staring at them as they stare at her.
What do they see? Something rare perhaps, like a white tiger. After all, how many mothers could proudly claim that their Ph.D daughters knew the Soundarya Lahiri and could tie a madisaar?
A monkey maybe, present for their entertainment.
‘Now sing a song’
‘Tell them what research you do.’
‘Bring out your watercolours’
‘She’s very domesticated’ her mother says. Ah, a farm animal. Hard working, subservient, no mind of her own.
‘Well, we should be going now. Our son is only here for another 3 days and we need to see his other options. Please don’t wait for our phone call.’
A rhinoceros. That’s what she is.


4 thoughts on “zoo

  1. Dear Shoefiend,

    Loved your story and it inspired me to write the below piece- though there is no comparison to yours!! This is going for a flash competition.

    Title: The Indian wedding drama


    Bride’s side
    Donkey: Father
    Lady Donkey: Mother
    Young Che: Younger brother

    Groom’s side
    Hawk: Father
    Pigsy : Mother
    Fox: Distant uncle 1
    Hyena: Distant uncle 2

    Venue: The Donkey’s sitting room

    Heirloom Silver brimming with sweets and savories.

    The entire crew on stage, resplendent in silks and gold. A definite air of victory on the bridegroom’s side. The bride’s side look submissive.

    Fox (‘closing- the-deal’ tone) :‘Twenty lakhs , final’ .

    The Donkeys nod in agreement, resigned.

    Pigsy : ‘A new car and an A/C too. After all, he is a doctor’.
    (Looks around in triumph and adjusts her silk sari).

    Donkey (feeble, nervous): ‘But my girl too is a doctor’

    Hawk (Clear-cut) : ‘Doctor or teacher, what difference does it make? Girl means dowry’

    The donkey slumps further, and glances at the wife.

    Hyena (looking up from the astrology chart): ‘Shall we say, the second week of next month?’

    All nods.

    Pigsy: (like bullets firing) : ‘ Buy the wedding saris from Kumaran’s. At least twenty in the trousseau. And new clothes for all our relatives – it is custom.’

    Donkey: ‘Yes, Yes’ (looks intimidated)

    Pigsy: ‘Ah, tell the girl – no modern dresses anymore. Only saris’

    Lady Donkey nods, head down.

    Pigsy: ‘Five necklaces and Twenty gold bangles minimum.’

    Fox: ‘ Lunch from KT Caterers’

    Hawk: ‘Book only an air conditioned hall ’

    Donkeys keep nodding.

    Pigsy: ‘Tell your daughter that my son wants homemade food on the table when he returns home’

    Young Che (agitated) : ‘But my sister works the same hours as your son’

    Old Hyena, displeased, to Che: ‘Don’t speak to your elders that way. Weren’t you taught manners’?

    The bridegroom’s side collectively express irritation. Lady Donkey looks drained.

    Donkey signals to Che to go inside. Che obeys, still angry.

    Pigsy (decisive) : ‘So it is settled now. We are relatives’

    Donkey, eyes down, mumbling: ‘I wonder the boy wants to meet the girl before marriage’?

    Pigsy, indignant: ‘No such tradition in our family’

    The Hyena laughs out loud.

    (Wedding song in the background. Dimming lights).

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